About Methodism

The United Methodist Church was created in 1968 when The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren joined together. The denominations had similar ecclesiastical structures and a relationship that dated back almost two hundred years.

Today, there are 8.5 million United Methodists in the United States and 1.5 million more worldwide, with the largest growth in membership in Africa and the Philippines.

Methodism is

… A faith that is both informed and widely experienced
… A religion that is intensely personal but shared with others
… A concern for spiritual, physical and social conditions of all persons
… An affirmation of belief in one God as revealed through Jesus Christ – but an appreciation for a variety of ways in which that affirmation may be expressed.

History of Methodism

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Methodism traces its roots to the Church of England and John Wesley (1703-1791) the founding father of Methodism. Early Methodists focused on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis continues to be a hallmark of United Methodism today, in the form of concern for social justice.

The United Methodist Church was created in 1968 when The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren joined together. The denominations had similar ecclesiastical structures and a relationship that dated back almost two hundred years.

Today, there are 8.5 million United Methodists in the United States and 1.5 million more worldwide, with the largest growth in membership in Africa and the Philippines.

Reconciling Ministry at UUMC, affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN)

Our journey toward becoming a reconciling church began in August 2010 when the Church Council formed a Reconciling Ministry Committee. Its task was to build upon the many UUMC small-group Reconciling initiatives established over the previous ten years and facilitate discussions around the possibility of UUMC becoming affiliated with the national Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). Over a six-month period, the Committee organized an eight-week Sunday school study on the Bible and homosexuality, presentations to existing Sunday school classes, a roundtable forum with retired clergy, a lecture by noted Bible scholar L. Michael White, and two open forums for church member discussions. In February 2011, at a special church conference supervised by District Superintendent Rev. Bobbi Kaye Jones, 94 percent of UUMC members present voted to affiliate with RMN and become a positive voice in the United Methodist Church for the full inclusion of GLBT persons.

Our Church family recognizes there is still much work to be done, both inside and outside our walls, to move closer to God’s dreams for a world in which everyone is treated the same. We will remain steadfast in that vision.

Join us in ministry. Join us in worship. All are welcome.

For more information about Reconciling Ministry, or about our bi-monthly LGBTQ Fellowship, please email us.

 

Our Heritage

In 1887, Austin was a bustling city of 12,000; Jesse L. Driskill opened his magnificent new hotel at the corner of 6th and Brazos Streets and the University of Texas celebrated its third birthday.

These facts come from a history of UUMC written by long-standing member Dr. Margaret Berry. In March of 1887, Berry wrote that Reverend J. E. Stovall began services in Honey Chapel, a tiny building on the UT campus owned by the Northern Methodist Episcopal Church. It was located at the northeast corner of 24th Street and Whitis Avenue.

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On that first Sunday, four people became members of the 24th Street Methodist Church (now University United Methodist Church.) During the first year, others joined, including Dr. George B. Halsted, an eccentric mathematics professor who built his home near the corner of 24th and Guadalupe Streets, where UUMC now stands.

He built it on stilts to avoid malaria but having hogs and chickens under his house did not bother him. In 1891, the congregation moved to a new and larger building at the corner of Nueces and 24th Streets, Hotchkiss Memorial, and then in 1909 to the current site at 24th and Guadalupe Streets.

Over the past century, the church has been renovated a number of times, the congregation has grown and the number of services has increased. One notable event in the church’s history occurred in 1957, a time when acrimonious civil rights demonstrations and confrontations were taking place across the country.

The first black members were received into the church, which for more than a decade had attracted to services black students from Huston-Tillotson College. Another historic event took place on November 22, 1964, when a memorial service for President John F. Kennedy was held, attended by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Governor John Connally.

In 2008, the congregation undertook a major capital campaign to repair and renovate the church to prepare it for next century of service to the community.